Category Archives: Background

Company history – episode 3

The launch @ the midst of an economic crisis
Developing the total proposition – from the inventions of the technology to launching a brand – is a multi year and multi million journey, and the target was to be ready by summer 2009. Coming out of the booming beginning of the new century, it was judged that the biggest problem would be how to ramp up production without compromising the quality and individual bespoke attention for each and every customer. While the global crisis was heating up during the latter part of 2008 and the first part of 2009, the dilemma arose: Is this the right time to launch a brand selling time pieces that starts at €90K, or should we put everything on hold and wait for better times to come? And against what everybody advised, the brand launch was not postponed, but pulled forward. If we want to understand the true value of our idea, we need to be able to succeed even during the peak of a crisis. The brand never looked back, and is only more convinced that doing the counter intuitive, rarely is the easy way but often maximizes changes of success.

Mission & belief
We are an authentic independent Monegasque watch company dedicated to create the next generation of the world’s most desirable time pieces. Monaco’s contemporary Culture, Beauty and Imagination are what we are built on and inspired by, culminating into our commitment to create a legacy. What unites us is the belief that life is not only about luxury, but luxury sure is life!

What’s next
The clear intention is to make this into a long term success, and developing a brand is not a sprint but a carefully orchestrated marathon. We want our experiences to seduce people into a moment of indulgence for themselves, a statement to others and a degree of distraction from reality – a skill that unfortunately we often lose while growing up. The brand’s ambition is to be bespoke, which is why only a limited series is made of every edition before moving on to the next endeavour in the collection. No lofty sales targets are being chased, but instead there are strict quality and customer satisfaction targets: Every person owning an Ateliers deMonaco time piece needs to be convinced they bought something substantial for generations to come. And as one of founding principles of the company, expect continued innovation in the quest to leave a legacy.


Company story – episode 2

The dream
As so often in life, the desire to leave a legacy is a great motivation to achieve the unthinkable. And often during the late night and weekend sessions in the ateliers, discussion would focus on what leaving a legacy in the watch industry would mean these days. Was not almost everything already invented and designed? Yes and no was the conclusion. Great inventions had been made, but arguably their functionality was not always as good and consumer friendly as the original intend. For instance, despite the Tourbillon movement was invented to increase accuracy, yet most of these beautiful pieces of mechanical engineering and design, will actually not deliver on its original intend. The principle and functionality of a Perpetual Calendar is already designed, but if for whatever reason you need to adjust the calendar, it will easily cost you a lot of time and frustration to adjust, if at all you will be able to do so without causing damage to the complication. The fact that everything is designed yet does not only hold true for technology, but also goes for branding. When was the last time you’ve seen a brand that is proud to live in the here and now, and not fall into the temptation of abusing heritage as a seal of craftsmanship? And herein lies the nugget of the shared dream – creating a new high-end watch brand, designed for the generation that lives now— using a hybrid between the best of modern technology and traditional craftsmanship. As the nouvelle cuisine was trying to set a new standard and fresh impulse in cooking trends, so should this brand try to give a fresh impulse to Haute Horlogerie: let’s call it the ‘Nouvelle Horlogerie’.

Location & founding
As the intent of the new brand was not to copy the category conventions of the past decades, there were no limitations in the initial search. It needed to be a place that could provide enough inspiration for the people working for the brand, while also carry sufficient aspiration for those that the brand was designing for: Monaco and its surroundings. This place is not only one of the more appealing places on earth at the moment, but it has a long standing heritage of attracting some of the biggest innovators in several fields of expertise: painters like Picasso, Chagall, Matisse (or more recently like the Dutch sculptor Verkade); architects like Le Corbusier; poets and writers like Chekhov and Cocteau; and philosophers like Nietzsche. And importantly, these people did not only reside in this area, but delivered some of their best work while in the region. Of course, the breathtaking scenery of the Mediterranean against the startling rock formation of the Alps, and the warm blanket of the climate makes the combination picture perfect! After the location was determined, over a year went by to incorporate the company in Monaco and find the appropriate location for the Ateliers in the Princedom. It is important to be a genuine Monegasque company that is woven in to the local fabric of life. And all of this culminates in the brand proudly stating its origin on the final time pieces: Made in Monaco!


Company story – episode 1

This outlines the story of the 3 musketeers who launched a new and exclusive alternative luxury watch brand at the peak of a global economic crisis. Call them passionate, crazy, brilliant or stupid. At least they are attempting to realize their dream and add a new chapter in the rich history of global watchmaking.

Ateliers deMonaco is a new independent luxury watch manufacturer inspired by, designed for and made in Monaco. The brand targets a new generation with Nouvelle Horlogerie by creating iconic timepieces that are derived from their passion to challenge existing conventions to leave a legacy: “We have always dreamt about making a mechanical watch movement that is the most precise in the world and will keep generations of scientists busy trying to figure out how we did it !” All watches and their movements are completely in-house designed and manufactured, an unique capability that only few independent watch manufacturers still have to-date. The collection and innovations can be characterized as the ultimate collision between modern technology and classical craftsmanship, leaving a hybrid time piece that utilizes the best of both. To guarantee every watch gets its own unique character, every individual watch is hand-finished, -polished, -brushed and -engraved, which for some can take over 100 hours each. Each watch will be individually numbered and is only made available in very limited editions. And as a true Monegasque proposition, every watch that leaves our ateliers will have the iconic shield of Monaco hand-engraved in the heart of the movement.

The founders
Be it luck, faith or just mere coincidence, the three founders met through their mutual passion for Haute Horlogerie. Although their Dutch no-nonsense roots allowed them to connect well from the start, they cannot be more diverse in anything else.
Pim Koeslag (1981), the Benjamin of the three, attended watch-making school in Amsterdam after which he did several internships at some of the most renowned watch brands in the world. When offered employment at most of them, he decided to work for a small and lesser known watch company in Geneva that allowed him more freedom to experiment and develop new technologies: Frédérique Constant. With an age of only 28 springs young, there is a lot more we can expect from Pim! Pim is married and has two sons in the age between 0 and 3 years old.
Robert van Pappelendam (1969) finalized his law study at the Erasmus University Rotterdam, after which he changed course and started a marketing career at Procter & Gamble, a leading fast moving consumer goods company, lastly as a Global Brand Franchise Leader in their Haircare division. For this company, he worked in Rotterdam, Brussels, Cincinnati USA, Geneva Switzerland and Singapore. Since 2002 he has been active in the board of advisors of Frédérique Constant SA, Geneva. Robert is married and has 4 children in the ages between 3 and 9 years old.
Peter Stas (1963) studied Economy at the Erasmus University Rotterdam and after several internships, he started his professional career at Philips Electronics in the Netherlands. He moved to Asia to take a commercial leadership role for the consumer electronics division out of Hong Kong. In 1988, he was the initiator and founder of Frédérique Constant, currently one of the leading Swiss watch manufacturers in the affordable luxury segment. Peter is married and has 2 children aged between 10 and 15 years.

To be Continued…..


Ateliers deMonaco Conquering Asia!

Taipei – After creating a beach head in Singapore, this month marked the kick-of to establish ourselves for the bigger Asian market. With a very exciting kick-off event in Taipei on November 26/27 organized by our partner Swiss Prestige in cooperation with World Wrist Watch Magazine.


Press interviews were mixed with broader presentation to key watch- and life-style opinion leaders, in which we could start to explain and convey our passion and excitement about our brand.

img_8326And judging from the reactions, our quest to create a NOUVELLE HORLOGERIE with our innovation in technology, design and branding was extremely well received, at least with those attending the events.

With a great eye for detail, the watches, technology and the various materials were inspected for their their beauty and having the Master Horlogier Pim around created a unique opportunity to ask all those questions they always wanted to ask!


High point of the event was the reveal of the status of our latest project – A Minute Repeater Tourbillon. You could feel the pride on the face of Pim when he revealed his latest creation to the world, as we was clearly humbled by the overwhelming reactions!


Although we have a busy calendar ahead of us, we came back extremely excited out of the events. Nothing beats the personal interactions with those you share a passion with!


For more information, pls contact:

Swiss Prestige Ltd.
15F-6, 171, SongDe Road, Taipei, Taiwan 110

Phone:(886) 27263553
Email: [email protected]

A big thanks to Lory, Sherry,  the organizing team & attendees!

Master Horlogier Pim Koeslag & Robert van Pappelendam – Co-founders Ateliers deMonaco


Interview with Ita McCobb of Patrizzi & Co Auctioneers

They see Monaco as full of contrasts – visually and culturally.  It is this dualism they look to capture in the design of their watches. “A lot of what is magic about our Only Watch 09,” says van Pappelendam, “goes back to the passion, craftsmanship and precision of our tourbillion. This tourbillion is one of the most precise in the world – the movement has a maximum deviation of between zero and two seconds in 24 hours. It is a hybrid between modern technology and traditional craftsmanship.” “The reason we are able to achieve such accuracy with this watch is the use of the most modern materials and technology,” says Pim Koeslag, Master Watchmaker and co-founder of the brand.  “The silicium escapement and anchor are developed in-house with the help of external specialists, in fact, when we finally finished it we could hardly believe its extreme accuracy.”They patented their system to balance the tourbillon cage and ensure the gravity point is in the centre of the cage. “This allows us to have a flat line of rate difference and amplitude even at vertical positions,” says Koeslag. “I personally have never seen such precision before in a tourbillon. ”Their Xtreme Precision (XP) technology allows the 28800 beats an hour to be translated into ultimate accuracy, regulated to a tolerance between 0-2 seconds/24H. This precision is enabled by three innovations:

• Perfect Balance Cage – Their technology allows the watchmaker to balance the weight of the tourbillon cage by manually adding or removing small metal weights at the opposite sides of the escapement. This is to bring the gravity point of all 80 components to the center of the cage to achieve perfect balance.

• Silicium escapement and lever – This is a material normally used in the aerospace, micro processor and semi-conductor industry for its unique properties: low weight, extreme hardness and high corrosive resistance. The combination of making both escapement wheel and lever from silicium results in significantly improved energy efficiency. The extreme hardness (almost twice as hard as steel) results in low friction so no need for lubrication. And as the material is not magnetic, there is no interference that could cause irregularities in the precision.

• Deep Reactive Ion Etching and LIGA – This precision manufacturing method creates individual components. In comparison, traditional methods require continuous fine-tuning of the machines due to wear and tear. As a consequence, the DRIE and LIGA process has significantly improved manufacturing accuracy: up to 10 times more accurate than conventional machining methods. There is a lot of innovation in this watch – some of it based on technology, some, such as the sapphire bridge on which the tourbillion  is built, are more aesthetic innovations. One of the ideas they had in their initial designs was the vision of Monaco seemingly floating above the Mediterranean – but how do you recreate it? Finally, Koeslag said, “We just need to make it float.”

“It is quite difficult to make a sapphire bridge,” laughs Koeslag. “Only one supplier was able to cut it successfully – and then there was the problem of fitting the ruby that sits on the sapphire bridge…” There are two bridges holding the tourbillion cage – the sapphire bridge on the front, and a hand mirror-polished steel bridge on the reverse – it takes an entire day to finish just one. The case is built up of 33 individual components that are assembled by hand. This and the convex curves they have used in the watch, was the only way they could achieve the contrasting finishes they wanted for each surface in order to replicate the special light effects you get in Monaco. intricate hand engraving of the 18k rotor has been done by industry-recognized Mr. Benzinger, who has also decorated the front and back of the Ateliers deMonaco shield that can be seen through the sapphire crystal back. The hand-finishing of just one handcut and handmade watch takes 120 hours. All the edges of the movement are curved and hand-finished. The sapphire is double anti-reflection treated on both sides. The inside case is of titanium grade 5 with fishscale finishing. “The chamfering of the bridges is done so as to create extra light reflection,” says van Pappelendam. The idea was that everywhere it goes this watch reflects – as in Monaco, where everywhere you go something is shining. ”Ateliers deMonaco’s Only Watch comes in aspecial presentation case with an engraved Only Watch plaque. The multi-faceted watchcase is in 18k pink gold, the dial in onyx with black mother-of-pearl. On the reverse there is a huge sapphire crystal displaying the completely hand-engraved manufactory movement and which is engraved Only Watch Pièce Unique. The watch, with matching cufflinks, comes in a presentation case and with a state-of-the-art travel case.

Inspiration & Unique features

Over the next weeks, we will be posting more background information on our inspiration for the development of the new Ateliers deMonaco brand, as well as some insights on the unique features of our time-pieces. Please share your thoughts with us as well!!

This first edition is about the inspiration for our look & feel of the brand.

1) Look & Feel – Monaco is getting its distinct look and feel by being a world of opposites, visually and culturally. For instance, the velvet blue lines of the Mediterranean are contrasted by the sharp brown rock formation on which the Principauté is build. Its belle époque architecture is interrupted by modern high rise buildings and it’s usually calm streets are being taken over once a year by the loud noises of Formula 1 racing. This tension between scenery and culture has made the Côte d’Azur the birthplace and inspiration of many important works of art. Painters like Seurat, Picasso or Chagall, but also writers like Hemmingway and Cocteau all had some of their best creative periods in the region.


And it is this tension and dualism we are trying to capture in all we do. So, our straight lines of our case designs are contrasted with convex curves applied on the in-and outside panels of the case. The tonneau shaped inner index ring contrasts the case shape. And when and where possible, we use contrasting materials and finishing. For instance on the dial of our most iconic design, the Black Casino, the beautiful deep black gemstone with a fine texture is contrasted with the multi color dimensions of the mother-of-pearl. As so often in life, opposites create the tension as well as the attraction!